Personal Affairs is a BBC3 attempt at the early Desperate Housewives model: Seemingly superficial, glossy, high budget American series with a beautiful cast, and an overarching mystery with slowly evolving long-term subplots (as long term as six episodes can be)but with a British flavour. In many respects it succeeds, and there are some very funny exchanges between the four 'girls' as well as the odd zingy one-liner.
Production values are good, and the acting is everything one could expect from BBC3, with some notable Brit and Irish heavyweights (Archie Panjabi, now starring in The Good Wife Stateside, Anette Badland, Mark Benton, Darren Boyd and Ruth Negga) and plenty of recognisable faces (Joe Absolom- Eastenders, Laura Aikman- Casualty, Annabel Scholey- Being Human, Emily Bruni- Peep Show.) Sadly the writing is not consistent and the whole thing slowly descends into farce. Bruni is, for the most part, a treat, but the otherwise reliable Panjabi is utterly wasted here and poorly directed. Aikman carries much of the show on her young shoulders so your enjoyment may well rest on whether or not you take to her.
A promising start and some really thoughtful moments, but overall too sensationalist to ever become a classic and (with a pair of notable exceptions) the ending is just a little to neat and improbable. The four central characters are personable with good screen presence and chemistry and if you enjoy light-middleweight US imports like DH, Harper's Island, Ugly Betty et al, then you'll find this diverting enough, with a more British sensibility and homegrown talent.